Lacey Stern, Founder and Director of Lace Up Studios, was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina where her dance training started at the age of 3. She trained and competed with The Southern Strutt Dance Company in Irmo, SC, under the direction of Nancy Giles. While with Southern Strutt, Lacey gained experience training under well renowned choreographers such as, Dee Caspary, Tina Caspary, Justin Giles, Wade Robson, and Ray Leeper. Attending many dance conventions over the years, Lacey was awarded dance scholarships from West Coast Dance Explosion and NYCDA. She spent many summers training in Los Angeles at the EDGE Performing Arts Center.
In 2008, Lacey graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and Public Health. While attending USC, she was a member of the Carolina Girls Competitive Dance Team and a Carolina Coquette dancer with the University of South Carolina Marching Band. Go Gamecocks!!
For the past 11 years, Lacey has had the opportunity to train students of all ages in the genres of Contemporary, Ballet, Tap, Hip Hop, Jazz, and Lyrical. Lacey loves spending time with her husband, James, and their two adorable cats Cowboy and JJ.
Jeslyn Miles, lead dance instructor here at Lace Up, is from Columbia, South Carolina where she began her dance career at the age of 2 with Carolina Dance Center. She trained and competed with CDC mastering tap, jazz, theater/ character dance, and ballet until the age of 11. At 11 Jeslyn joined the competition team at The Southern Strutt Dance Company in Irmo, SC under director Nancy Giles. While dancing at The Southern Strutt, Jeslyn was able to train and dance along side of some of the most well known choreographers and dancers in the industry such as Wade Robinson, Justin Giles, Ray Leeper, Tina Caspary, Dee Caspary, Chrissie Whitehead, Caroline Lewis, and Lace Up’s owner Lacey Stern. Jeslyn attended many dance conventions and competitions over her years spent at The Southern Strutt. She also got the opportunity to spend a few summers in Los Angeles at the EDGE Performing Arts Center training with her Strutt family and dancers from all over the world strengthening her skills further.
After graduating Jeslyn found she had a real passion and love for encouraging and teaching children. She connects with kids of all ages naturally and creates a safe, kind, fun, loving, and positive environment for all. She is extremely energetic and pours herself into each child and each class. When Jeslyn decided to combine her love for children with her love and knowledge of dance and found her calling here with Lace Up Studios.
Jeslyn and her daughter Caroline live in the Northeast side of Columbia. They have a dog named Lulu, 3 leopard geckos, and a crested gecko. She has a big green thumb and loves to spend her down time with her daughter in the dirt and outside with loved ones.
Megan Gross, lead dance instructor at Lace Up Studios, was born and raised in Irmo, South Carolina where she began her dance training at the age of 3 years old at Southern Strutt Dance Company. She was a part of several performance and competitive dance teams during her time at Southern Strutt until she was 18 years old. She was also a high school and competitive cheerleader at Dutch Fork High School and American Cheer Xtreme (ACX). After graduating from high school in 2003, Megan spent 3 years working as an assistant teacher at a local Montessori school, and she recently graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in Geological Sciences. For the past 5 years, Megan has had the opportunity to train and teach students in the genres of Tap, Ballet, Jazz, and Hip Hop with Lace Up Studios.
Ms. Neffy started dancing with Columbia Conservatory, where her classes consisted of ballet, tap, jazz, and contemporary. She took a great interest to contemporary and chose to train and study in this area of dance with Columbia College. Her love for dance led her to the path of being a choreographer as well as a teacher with Fuse Artist Alliance. Ms. Neffy has had the opportunity to choreograph and perform in pieces for exhibits at the Museum of Art in downtown Columbia. Recently, she has performed in the “Move Around Series” at the Museum of Art with the Johnson Company, Blueprintx, and Yuhas dancers. Currently, Ms. Neffy is a teacher and choreographer under BlueprintX as well as a teacher for Lace up Studios. Being able to share her love and knowledge of dance with others, especially her young students at Lace up, brings genuine joy in her day to day life.
Marie grew up in Greenville, South Carolina and has been a dancer since the age of 3. She completed her dance training at Palmetto En Pointe Performing Arts in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Marie was a competitive dancer and attended many conventions. She was given the opportunity to work with professional dancers and choreographers. She graduated from JL Mann high school in 2016, and she is currently attending the University of South Carolina. She is studying Elementary education with a minor in dance, and she has performed in the student choreography showcase at USC. She has taken a variety of college level dance courses including ballet, jazz, contemporary, and West African dance. Marie is also in the process of becoming a certified acro-dance instructor through the Acrobatique program. She has taught acro-dance classes along with jazz, tap, contemporary, and ballet classes. She also taught summer dance camps where she encourages dancers to have fun while learning more about dance technique. In her free time, Marie enjoys spending time with her family and friends, going shopping, and spending time on the lake. Marie is a dog lover with three furry friends at home. Marie has a passion for dance and for working with children, and hopes to encourage them to be the best they can be in all that they do.